Democracy and development


The perpetrators of the three coups in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso have in common the attempt to legitimize their putschs by denouncing the failures of democratically elected presidents and the subjugation of their victims to the West. It’s true, neither Alpha Condé, who remained in power for more than ten years (a lost decade for Guinea), even less Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (7 years on the heights of Koulouba) or Roch Marc Christian Kaboré (tenant of the Koysam palace since 2015) have improved the standard of living of their citizens. Worse, they have for the most part seen corruption scandals prosper which ended up emptying the State of its legitimacy and depriving the elected presidents of the small ounce of popularity that remained to them. In Conakry, Bamako and Ouagadougou, the mango was overripe. The putschists took over the popular uprisings.

That said, should we, for having rejected the immobility of IBK, grant a 5-year term to Asimi Goita with the only guarantee of his “youth”? Even if the master of Bamako were the heir of Thomas Sankara, the champion of a new pan-Africanism or the desired hero of the reconquest of Kidal via, it is to be regretted, the subcontracting of the patriotic cause by the mercenaries of Wagner, should we refrain from reminding him that he still has neither the legitimacy conferred by the ballot box, nor the aura that a military victory bestows, even less the right to speak on behalf of the Malians given by the ballot box and voting booth?

What is this anachronistic pan-Africanism allied with coups d’etat and which would be built on hatred of the West? Even if Vladmir Putin, eternal candidate of his party, United Russia, would be the perfect model of “managed democracy” or bureaucratic authoritarianism, it goes without saying that the Russian tsar always held to the constitutional legality. Had he not invented Medvedev to circumvent the castrating obstacle of the third term? In short, if pan-Africanism should make do with “militocracy” and enlist the popular will of Africans in endless transitions, it would certainly not have the support of democrats, pragmatists and all those who think that the urgency is to find 15 to 20 million jobs per year.

Between Sékou Touré and Houpheit Boigny, our choice is quickly made. Similarly between Hassan II and Boumediene, we prefer impactful investments to romantic speeches against imperialism. China has caught up with America by dint of silence and hard work while Mugabe and Maduro have engulfed their country in mile-long inflations of speeches and prices of basic foodstuffs.

The failure of democratically elected presidents in Bamako, Conakry and Ougadougou is not the failure of democracy. This certainly presupposes a balance between the three powers, but also a constant civic commitment coupled with a democratic culture, submission to the rule of law and transparency.

Some point out that democracy has never developed a country, citing the examples of Asian leaders who managed to lift their country out of poverty, whip in hand. Indeed, the cultural dimension of Confucianism based on merit, transparency, discipline and healthy competition make Singapore and Malaysia quasi-military barracks where the value of work serves as a place of social bond and lift for the most deserving. The Asian dirigistes, certainly reserved on individual freedoms and not very fond of social achievements such as the right to strike, nevertheless remain guarantors of healthy competition, of the need for human development (health and education) and of economic patriotism there. where a Bokassa, an Idi Amin Dadda and a Mobutu had other ambitions.

Of course, each country follows its path dictated by its history, culture and civic engagement. From this synthesis is born the terrible sentence of Montesquieu: “the peoples have the government they deserve”. Indeed, without civic engagement, laws and institutions become empty of their spirit to keep only the letter, called upon each time by the princes of the city. This is why those among the citizens, elites, journalists and technocrats who throw stones at Condé must first ask themselves if they have not failed in their civic duty as vigilante in faction to preserve democratic gains. These fragile achievements at the national level need regional and supraregional guarantees. The principle of subsidiarity between ECOWAS, the African Union and the UN has made it possible to contain many military appetites, Assimi Goita and his family being the most recent and most telling examples. The firmness opposed to the Malian junta by the international community is a real crash test of the solidity of regional mechanisms. The ECOWAS countries which, since the fall of the Berlin Wall, have been building integration based on respect for democracy and human rights should not renegotiate their democratic achievements at the risk of sinking into a substitute for putschs and transitions that are detrimental to their economies. .


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